Life aquatic: Narelle Autio | Ruth Maddison | Catherine Nelson

Posted on Dec 5, 2016 in Art and Culture, Photography, Visual | No Comments

Life aquatic
Narelle Autio | Ruth Maddison | Catherine Nelson

10 December 2016 – 26 February 2017

The Monash Gallery of Art will host the work of three contemporary photographers, Narelle Autio, Ruth Maddison and Catherine Nelson, in an exhibition titled Life aquatic, which will run from 10 December 2016 – 26 February 2017. MGA

Scientists like to say that Earth was misnamed. Given that over 70% of Earth’s surface is covered by ocean, it would be more accurate to say that we live on planet Water. Life aquatic will plunge the viewer into underwater landscapes where life forms are suspended, interconnected and bubbling with quiet potential. In different ways, each artist asks us to sink below the horizon of our civilised lives to immerse ourselves in planet Water.

“MGA has been turned into an oasis of fresh and splashy fun for the summer,” says Stephen Zagala, MGA Senior Curator.

Narelle Autio is a photojournalist and avid traveller, who works in documentary mode. A regular exhibitor of new work, Autio takes her photos in public spaces where she can capture the drama and spontaneity of everyday life. Working above and below the waterline, she covers subjects such as children jesting in the waves; isolated coastlines dotted with seaweed and the flotsam that holidaymakers leave in the sand. Life aquatic showcases Autio’s underwater photography, which is one of the most sustained and erudite aspects of her practice. Through the four series featured in the exhibition, Autio expresses the athletic action of crowded surf beaches as well as the solitude of inland swimming holes. She documents the spontaneity of live action like a street photographer, but she also transforms plunging bodies into sublime figures that float in an aquatic abyss.

Ruth Maddison, a self-taught photographer and artist, brings her series of camera-less ‘lumen-prints’ to Life aquatic, which she produced using seaweed between 2000 and 2006. Arranging plant forms on sheets of photographic paper, Maddison exposed her organic compositions to sunlight to create these works. She further enhanced the shadowy images by allowing random reactions between the salty seaweed and photographic materials. Maddison prefers not to specify a viewing orientation for her works, fostering the notion these forms belong to a fluid realm.

Catherine Nelson has developed a seductively hyper-real form of photography. She ‘paints’ fantastical landscapes by digitally combining and distorting photographs taken in her actual environment. Nelson’s most recent series of images have adopted a submarine perspective on aquatic landscapes. Origins was created using photographs of mangrove swamps in south-east Asia, while Submerged was composed from thousands of close-up photographs taken in a small lily pond in Belgium. Life aquatic also features Nelson’s new video work ‘Supernova,’ an animated sequence of rare and endangered plants from the National Botanic Garden of Belgium.

MGA is recognised as one of Australia’s leading public galleries promoting excellence, access and education within the visual arts. Located in Wheelers Hill, MGA is a key cultural facility and a popular destination for art and photography enthusiasts from across Melbourne.

Life aquatic
10 December 2016 – 26 February 2017
Monash Gallery of Art
Ferntree Gully Road, Wheelers Hill